Olympian Opening

After another day of serious fun (which I will post about anon) we all collapsed in front of the Olympic opening ceremony last night, getting an American-eyed view of the whole thing. We couldn't find any channel showing it live yesterday morning... and last night everything proceeded on the fiction that the whole event was live on American primetime...

And that just about summed up the whole experience... that everything revolved around America... Particularly when it came to the parade of nations, which as ever, was even more interminable than Eurovision voting. And because we were pretending that the whole thing was live, NBC didn't even take the opportunity to edit it. And when we had to go away from the developing excitement for the inevitable ad break (Don't get me started on US TV advertising) they had a recap of who we had missed... As if we cared...

Apart from a few trivia tit-bits (which were generally of the "aren't these foreigners strange!?" type) most of the comments about other nations related to whether they had any American citizens or students competing for them, or whether they were a major threat to American medal hopes. It was also embarassing to have the camera repeatedly turn to Dubya, who looked bored out of his tiny mind, making no attempt to look interested in the interminable parade of insignificant states like Vanuatu, Bhutan and France... Only getting into his jacket and smiling when the USA team entered the arena.

Was the UK coverage similarly biased or have we got over the fact that the world is no longer pink, and realised that we belong to a nation of Olympic no-hopers? I would be interested to know.

I would also be interested to know how the London 2012 planning committee felt after seeing the spectacle of the Chinese opening ceremony. How do you possibly top a quarter mile long LCD screen unfurling on the ground, a sky-runner lapping the arena and 15,000 perfectly synchronised performers? Millenium Dome Disaster it was not! Personally I would give up on trying to top it and just have Queen Liz (or whoever is on the postage stamps at the time) cut a ribbon or something...

"God bless these Olympic Games and all who compete in them..."

(ps. If anyone could also explain to me why "Scotland the Brave" was played at least 3 times during the parade of nations I would be interested... The last time a parade of nations entered Beijing, or Peking as it was then, to the skirl of the bagpipes was probably the relief of the International Delegation at the end of the Boxer rebellion... heralding the end of independent imperial China... Was this an exercise in Chinese irony? If it was it was lost on the American commentators... As was the location of most nations smaller than India!)


Zed said…
Apparently a Chinese Official discovered the band on a trip to France - on the BBC it was said that the Chinese love whiskey so that might have had a bearing too! They seemed to be featuring some folk music from various countries.
See the Beeb's version of the story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/7549580.stm - you can even watch a few videos of the coverage by the Beeb in case you're feeling home sick!
Anonymous said…
London could never compete...it'll feature 15,000 middle-aged men sitting on deckchairs wearing knotted handkerchiefs and moaning about the weather.

BTW, didn't you notice the fact that alongside the pipers there was a mexican mariachi band as well. Several 'ethnic' bands playing in rotation which added a surreal dimension to the whole thing and meant, that when we were not breathless we were laughing with the ludicrousness of the thing.

Overall, utterly wonderful in an olympic opening ceremony kinda way.
Zed, thanks for the link to the story about the pipers... Class... Mind you, if I had my way I would ship all bagpipers to China on a one way ticket... Had to walk behind one on my wedding day... He was apparently world class, but being that close to someone strangling an octopus is not pleasant...
Bill said…
Whoa, wait a minute! Our media works hard to keep the US arrogant and believing that we are the center of the universe. Of course China held off until American prime time.

Other than that, you are in America watching the Olympics. I'm not sure how other countries are covering the event but I would imagine that the majority of their coverage is on their own athletes and country as well.
Point taken Bill... It's just interesting seeing it all through another nation's eyes for a change... I think that UK coverage of events like this is often insular and jingoistic, but we usually have at least one former sportsperson from another nation giving a different perspective... eg. Michael Johnson was part of the BBC team at the last Olympics... So to see the whole thing through a red white and blue, star-spangled haze was interesting.

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